Cricket Wireless vs. Metro by T-Mobile: Which Is Better?

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Cricket vs. Metro by T-Mobile
Image Credit: Clark.com

Millions of Americans have lowered their cell phone bills by switching from one of the major wireless carriers to discount prepaid brands, including Cricket Wireless and Metro by T-Mobile (formerly MetroPCS).

Several Team Clark members are current or former customers of these two companies, so we decided to do a comparison.

Cricket Wireless vs. Metro by T-Mobile 

The chart below reveals how the carriers have a lot in common, but key differences remain. The biggest one is that Cricket Wireless relies on AT&T’s network and Metro by T-Mobile uses T-Mobile’s network.

Cricket Wireless vs. Metro by T-Mobile Comparison

Cricket Wireless Metro by T-Mobile 
Prepaid or Postpaid Plans Prepaid Prepaid
BYOP (Bring Your Own Phone)  Yes (Check compatibility) Yes (Check compatibility)
Phones for Sale  Yes Yes
Network  AT&T (Coverage map) T-Mobile (Coverage map)
Unlimited Data Options  Yes Yes
Family Plan Discounts Yes Yes
Contracts  No No
Taxes & Fees Included  Yes Yes
Customer Support In stores and by phone In stores and by phone

This article will review the similarities and differences between Cricket Wireless and Metro by T-Mobile in four areas: Plans and Pricing, Network Coverage, Phone Options and Customer Service. 

After reading this article, we hope that you’ll be able to decide which of these providers is best for you.

Plans and Pricing 

First, let’s take a look at the cell phone plans available from Cricket Wireless and Metro by T-Mobile.

Both are prepaid carriers, which just means that you pay for service in advance. That way, there are no surprise overage charges on your bill. Another advantage of prepaid service is that no credit check is required.

Cricket and Metro have unlimited and fixed data plans, plus significant discounts if you have two or more lines.

There are four main data plans to choose from with both providers, but the differences are in the fine print. Take a look at the plans and some of the key factors below.

All of the prices include taxes and fees — what you see is what you pay.

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Cricket Wireless Plans

Plan Name  Price  Details 
2GB
  • $30/month
  • No Auto Pay credit
  • Unlimited talk, text and 2GB of high-speed data access up to 4G LTE
  • Speeds reduced after allowance is used 
  • No mobile hotspot
5GB
  • $40/month
  • $35/month with Auto Pay
  • Unlimited talk, text and 5GB of high-speed data access up to 4G LTE
  • Speeds reduced after allowance is used
  • No mobile hotspot
Unlimited Cricket Core
  • $55/month
  • $50/month with Auto Pay
  • Unlimited talk, text and data access with speeds up to 3 Mbps
  • Unlimited SD quality video streaming (about 480p)
  • Mexico & Canada usage
  • Unlimited texts from the U.S. to 37 countries
  • HD Voice & Wi-Fi Calling with compatible phone
  • Mobile hotspot not included (add-on available)
Unlimited Cricket More
  • $60/month
  • $55/month with Auto Pay
  • Unlimited talk, text and 4G LTE data
  • 15GB of mobile hotspot
  • Unlimited SD quality video streaming (about 480p)
  • Mexico & Canada usage
  • Unlimited texts from the U.S. to 37 countries
  • HD Voice & Wi-Fi Calling with compatible phone

Metro by T-Mobile Plans

Plan Name  Price  Details 
2GB $30/month
  • Unlimited talk, text and 2GB of high-speed data
  • No mobile hotspot
10GB $40/month
  • Unlimited talk, text and 10GB of high-speed data
  • No mobile hotspot
$50 Unlimited $50/month
  • Unlimited talk, text and high-speed data
  • 5GB of mobile hotspot
  • Video streams at up to 480p
  • 100GB of Google One storage
$60 Unlimited $60/month
  • Unlimited talk, text and high-speed data
  • 15GB of mobile hotspot
  • Video streams at up to 480p
  • 100GB of Google One storage
  • Amazon Prime included

Family Plan Discounts 

If you need two, three, four or more lines of service, forget about the chart above. The cost per line is substantially less for those on a family plan with either Cricket Wireless or Metro by T-Mobile.

Deals change often, but Cricket has a long-running special: Four lines for $100 on its Unlimited Cricket Core plan.

At the time of this writing, Metro by T-Mobile was running TV commercials for one of its best deals: Two lines of unlimited for $80 per month, with Amazon Prime included.

You can check the latest family plan deals on Cricket and Metro by T-Mobile’s websites.

Network Coverage 

Whether you’re making a call, sending a text or using 4G LTE data to browse the web, you want to make sure that your cell phone provider has reliable network coverage where you live and travel.

Start by entering your address and checking the coverage maps on Cricket and Metro’s websites:

Metro by T-Mobile's coverage map tool lets you compare carriers
Metro by T-Mobile’s coverage map tool lets you compare carriers

Cricket Wireless is owned by AT&T and uses its network — the same towers, the same coverage. However, Cricket does limit data download speeds on select plans and may slow you down when the network is congested.

Meanwhile, Metro customers use T-Mobile’s network and may experience slower speeds at busy times due to prioritization.

Phone Options 

Gone are the days when switching to a prepaid carrier meant limited phone choices. Cricket and Metro offer customers the option to either buy a new phone or bring a compatible device.

Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) 

If you want to keep your current phone, it must be unlocked. Locate your device’s IMEI number to check compatibility:

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Purchase a New Phone

The latest high-end Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy devices are among the phone options with these two carriers, but they’re perhaps best known for free phone promotions.

Typically, the free phones that they offer for transferring a number are budget phones that normally sell for $200 or less.

Here’s an example: When I last checked Metro by T-Mobile’s website, I saw an ad for two free Samsung Galaxy A20 phones when you switch. That device retails for nearly $250.

Metro by T-Mobile's Samsung Galaxy A20 phone deal (October 2019)
Metro by T-Mobile’s Samsung Galaxy A20 phone deal (October 2019)

If you pass on the free phone deal but still purchase a device from these carriers, it’s best to pay for it in full.

There may be special monthly payment plans available, but beware of the interest charges. Personally, I wouldn’t finance a phone with any carrier unless there was a 0% offer.

Since phone deals change frequently, you’ll want to check the links below for the latest sales:

Customer Service 

Reviewing customer service is never easy because my experience could be very different than yours, so I dug up a study from J.D. Power that ranked non-contract full-service cell phone carriers — and Cricket Wireless was #1.

However, Metro by T-Mobile wasn’t far behind in this study, and both exceeded the industry average.

J.D. Power Wireless Customer Care Study

Some of Cricket and Metro’s prepaid competitors only offer customer support by chat, but these two companies have physical stores and toll-free numbers where you can turn for help.

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That makes either provider a contender if being able to walk into a store or call someone up for assistance is important to you.

Before you sign up for service, you can always call up Cricket and Metro to talk to them about what they offer and see if you’re comfortable with the level of customer service.

I’ve provided the toll-free numbers to reach out to customer service below:

  • Cricket Wireless: 1 (800) 274-2538
  • Metro by T-Mobile: 1 (888) 863-8768

Final Thought 

Is Cricket better than Metro by T-Mobile or the other way around? It’s all going to depend on what you need from a cell phone provider.

I’ve tried to lay out the key similarities and differences throughout this article so that you can make the best decision for your life. To recap, here’s what to do next:

  • Check the coverage maps
  • Make sure your device is compatible
  • Review the latest deals

If you want to continue your research, read reviews of Cricket Wireless and Metro by T-Mobile from members of Team Clark. Also, check out our frequently updated list of the best cell phone plans and deals!

Are you a Cricket Wireless or Metro by T-Mobile customer? Leave your customer review below! 

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